Welcome to another addition to the Bringing the Bible to Life series. So far, we’ve covered:
So, if you’re on track — You’ve read through the Scripture passage, you’ve read through the curriculum book, and you’ve practiced in front of your entire Little Pony or GI Joe collection. You’re able to tell the Bible story in a plane, in a train and without refrain, and it’s time to move onto other aspects of your classroom experience.
While most curriculum give a suggested schedule, you may find developing your own schedule or routine to be more beneficial (and easier to remember!). Generally, it’s best to review the rules or expectations at the start of each class. Sure, it might get redundant (for you), but if you include the kids (by asking things like “Who knows expectation #1?”) and do it quickly, it will set the mood for learning and let newcomers know how things run. After that, you might want to review the last week’s lesson or start with class prayer.
For our Children’s Church program, teachers generally follow a 5-15-5 schedule. This includes:
- 5 minutes for kids to share things from their week,
- 15 minutes for formal lesson time, and
- 5 minutes for a game, craft, or other fun activity at the end.
Of course, if the Pastor goes long in his preaching, the game time gets extended – a bonus for the kids! In order to transition between activities, we usually pray. To begin each class time, I write “5-15-5” on the board and then ask the kids to fill in the details. I explain that the 15 minutes for lesson is a time to be orderly and listen. I try to involve the kids each week in some
way (skits, holding props, writing on the board, or through stations), but we always do it without invoking too much chaos.
If kids get a little rowdy, I gently remind them of the expectations. Sometimes, when the lesson is especially interactive (drama, review game, etc), the noise level gets a bit high, but it’s important to maintain some order so that everyone can hear and learn.
For our mid-week Kids for Christ program, we have a slide of the expectations that we show each week, generally right after the “Welcome” portion of the night. Our expectations include:
- Show self-control by sitting and listening during lesson time.
- Respect your leaders by obeying during small group time.
These expectations stemmed partially out of the curriculum we were currently using, so kids are familiar with the terminology. However, we do review what key terms like “self-control”, “respect” and mean about once a month, just in case!
Now of course, you don’t have to use our schedule or expectations, but it might give you a place to start. You will be able to do a lot more with the lesson if the room isn’t exploding in chaos and disorder. As a general rule, keep the schedule simple and keep the expectations short. Kids also really appreciate it when you post the schedule for them to see. Often, I’ll write the songs we’re going to sing or the Scripture we’ll be looking at along with the day’s theme on one of those mini-dry erase “peel and sticks” on the wall. Kids seem to appreciate knowing what’s coming next.
Okay, enough of the boring (but necessary) stuff! Let’s get into the fun! Adding some extra flair to the classroom experience will be the feature of the next post in this series!